section 474(2)


This section allows a clerk of the court to adjourn the court and its business to a subsequent day on the instruction of the presiding or another judge.


474(2) A clerk of the court for the trial of criminal cases in any territorial division may, at any time, on the instructions of the presiding judge or another judge of the court, adjourn the court and the business of the court to a subsequent day.


Section 474(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the power of a clerk of the court to adjourn a criminal trial to a subsequent day. This provision empowers the presiding judge or another judge of a court to instruct the clerk to adjourn the court, and thus, postpone the proceedings until a later date when certain circumstances require it. This section of the Act grants significant flexibility and discretionary power to the criminal justice system to ensure that the administration of justice is fair, efficient, and effective. It recognizes that unforeseeable issues can arise in the course of a trial that may require immediate attention, such as the unavailability of witnesses, illness of the accused or witnesses, or unforeseen changes in the physical or psychological state of the participants. The power vested in the clerk of the court through Section 474(2) is a crucial aspect of the, as it ensures that the court proceeds in an orderly and efficient manner, and respects the rights of all involved parties. Furthermore, this section also secures the right of the accused to a speedy trial, as adjournments are only granted where they are necessary and justifiable. Therefore, it is evident that Section 474(2) plays a pivotal role in the criminal justice system and underscores the importance of balancing the interests of all stakeholders for the efficient and fair administration of justice in Canada.


Section 474(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada grants the power to the clerk of the court to adjourn the court and the business of the court to a subsequent day, solely based on the instructions of the presiding judge or another judge of the court. The primary objective behind this section is to ensure that the court proceedings run smoothly and efficiently, and the interests of justice are served in a fair and impartial manner. The power conferred under Section 474(2) is quite important in criminal cases as well, where the accused's statutory right to a fair trial must be safeguarded. A fair trial is one of the most fundamental and essential rights enshrined in any democratic society. The right is not only essential for the accused but also for the overall functioning of the legal system, as it helps maintain public trust in the judiciary. The clerk's authority under Section 474(2) enables the presiding judge or another judge of the court to manage the court proceedings efficiently, without the need for lengthy delays, which could be detrimental to the interests of all parties involved in the proceedings. The presiding judge or another judge of the court may need to adjourn the court due to several reasons, such as the absence of a key witness, an emergency situation, or the unavailability of technical equipment necessary for the proceedings. Therefore, Section 474(2) ensures that judges can make such decisions swiftly, assuring that the administration of justice is not impeded. Moreover, this section assigns the adjournment power to the clerk of the court, which balances the workload of judges and court staff while streamlining the court process. This separation of powers ensures that the judge responsible for deciding the case isn't forced to handle administrative tasks such as rescheduling hearings. It is the clerk's responsibility to manage these actions. The vital role of the clerk of the court in the administration of justice cannot be overlooked. The clerk's powers extend beyond mere procedural aspects of the justice system, as it confers upon the clerk the responsibility and trust of the court to ensure that its essential administrative mechanisms are operating efficiently. As a result, the clerk's actions within the court proceedings are crucial in ensuring that justice is administered correctly. In conclusion, Section 474(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides the necessary flexibility and control during criminal court proceedings. The presiding judge, in possession of the power to instruct the clerk of the court to adjourn proceedings, has the paramount interest of justice in mind. By enabling the Clerk of the Court to responsibly adjourn proceedings, the interests of the accused, witnesses, prosecutors, and the court are protected, and the judicial process will operate as efficiently as possible. Section 474(2) goes a long way to promoting a transparent, responsive, and fair justice system in Canada.


Section 474(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada empowers clerks of the court to adjourn criminal cases on the instructions of judges. This section gives judicial officers broad discretion to adjourn court sittings, particularly in situations where there are delays such as absent witnesses, unprepared lawyers, or other unavoidable circumstances. When dealing with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada, lawyers and litigants need to be mindful of the potential strategic implications of seeking or opposing an adjournment. One key consideration in deciding whether to seek an adjournment is the impact of the delay on the client's interests. In some instances, an adjournment may be strategically advantageous. For example, if new evidence has come to light, adjourning the case to a later date may give the defense lawyer time to develop a stronger case. Conversely, if the prosecution case is weak, adjourning a case may work in the Crown's favor as they will get an opportunity to mend their case before it is dismissed. Another consideration is cost. An adjournment may result in additional legal expenses for the client, such as fees to reschedule witnesses or additional time for lawyers to prepare for trial. An adjournment may also delay a resolution of the case, which may add to the emotional burden of the accused, who may suffer from the stress of the proceedings. In the case of a criminal trial, there is the consideration that the accused has a right to a speedy trial. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada guarantees that everyone that has been charged with a criminal offence has the right to be brought to trial within a reasonable amount of time. The right to a speedy trial is a fundamental aspect of justice. Counsel seeking an adjournment must weigh the advantages of the adjournment against the prejudice to the accused rights to a speedy trial. Lawyers and litigators can employ certain strategies in response to an adjournment request. When faced with an adjournment request from the opposing counsel, one strategy is to establish the availability of witnesses and other key players in the case. If the prosecution is requesting an adjournment, the defense lawyer can investigate whether the proposed dates of the adjournment conflict with potential witnesses' schedules. The defense lawyer could also investigate the reasons for the other party's adjournment request. If the reasons are vague or malicious, the deferral may be challenged. Another strategy is to create a virtual courtroom. This can be achieved through the use of technology that connects courtrooms and allows for testimony and cross-examination to be conducted through video conference. This mitigates the need for people to travel long distances, and enhances efficiency in the courts. Counsel may seek to use this technology to ensure that court sittings progress without further adjournment requests. In conclusion, Section 474(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a powerful tool that allows judicial officers to adjourn criminal cases on their instruction to a later date. Lawyers and litigants need to be aware of the potential strategic implications of seeking or opposing an adjournment. While an adjournment may provide advantages to the party seeking it, it may also have potential disadvantages such as costing additional time and money. For advocates, creating a virtual courtroom or identifying scheduling conflicts may help to expedite cases and reduce the need for adjournments.